By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Saturday expressed confidence President Duterte will side with the Senate and veto the House of Representative’s supposed realignments in the enrolled 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
In a radio interview, the Senate chief bared that it was Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea who asked for the enumeration of the P75 billion in alleged realignments by the Lower Chamber in the GAB.
“It was the request of the Executive Secretary that we send to them the list of those realignments so they can easily find them [in the budget books]. It was good sign for me because [this means] the President will indeed consider those,” Sotto said in Filipino during the radio interview.
He said he is hopeful that Duterte will veto the supposed House realignments since the latter had earlier vowed not to sign an “illegal” budget.
“Kaya naman malakas ang loob ko [kasi] bakit kukunin ang listahan sa amin kung ‘di ive-veto? (That’s why I’m confident because why would they seek the list if it will not be vetoed)?” he said.
Last Tuesday, Sotto signed “with strong reservations” the P3.8-trillion budget bill and sent it to the Palace for Duterte’s signature.
He attached with his annotation a 157-page list of what he called the “unconstitutional” insertions by the House.
The House of Representatives had earlier said it will respect the President’s prerogative on the GAB, deciding to withhold further comments on Sotto’s reservations.